Monthly Archives: May 2013

AL Vets Can Show Proof of Service on Driver’s License

Alabama Veterans now have the option of displaying proof of military service on their driver’s licenses.

Some Veterans returning from deployments in such places as Iraq and Afghanistan may deal with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder or other issues. The designation on their driver licenses will clearly identify them if they require assistance or come into contact with law enforcement officers and/or medical providers.

To establish proof of service, a Veteran must visit one of the Alabama Department of Public Safety’s driver license examining offices and present a DD-214 form from the Department of Defense that shows an “honorable” or “general under honorable conditions” status.

There is no additional charge for the Veteran designation for a first-time driver license applicant or for an individual seeking to renew his or her license. A Veteran who chooses to add the designation before his or her renewal date, however, must pay $18.50 for a duplicate license.        

Note: The Redstone motor vehicle office located at the One Stop can only issue the new driver’s license on Wednesdays when the state representative is at Redstone.

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Tell Your Story & Become Part of History

June 10-12 an organization called StoryCorps will be coming to Still Serving Veteran’s office to record the stories of post 9/11 Service Members, Veterans, and their families through a program called “The Military Voice Initiative.” This initiative seeks to honor the diverse and unique realities of our military communities by providing a space for participants to share their experiences, and the opportunity to have their voices archived at the Library of Congress for future generations.
 
The recording would be like a conversation. Each participant brings in someone they would like to speak with (usually this will be a friend, family member, colleague, etc), and they will have a conversation for 40 minutes. They are free to talk about whatever they would like during this time. There will be one staff facilitator in the room with the participants, mainly to check for recording sound quality and to ask clarifying questions if needed, but the facilitator will not be interviewing either of them.  At the end of their conversation, each pair will receive a CD copy and, with their permission, a copy will be archived at the Library of Congress.

Here are some examples of the end result. These videos are about 2-3 minutes long and were clipped from the 40 minute original interview:

Sergeant Marilyn Gonzalez and her daughter, Specialist Jessica Pedraza, remember deploying together to Iraq in 2010: http://storycorps.org/listen/marilyn-gonzalez-and-jessica-pedraza/

First Lieutenant Thomas Nelson and his wife, Lauren, talk about their first year of marriage: http://storycorps.org/listen/thomas-and-lauren-nelson/

Sergeant Papsy Lemus tells her daughter Griselda about going off to war in Iraq: http://storycorps.org/listen/papsy-lemus-and-her-daughter-griselda/

The StoryCorps Dates are June 10-12th, one-hour blocks from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.  If you are interested in telling your story and becoming a piece of history, contact Leslee at 256-883-7035, ext 113 or via lesleeg@stillservingveterans.org.

Upcoming Fall Golf Tournament! Save the Date!

2013 Flyer - Save the Date

Homecomings on Monday!

From Rachel Simpson, Operation Military Kids Coordinator & Military Liaison

I was given information that soldiers will be returning home from the 167th  this Monday. The National Guard just released that there are multiple sites where buses will be coming through with different groups of soldiers. I know it’s last minute, but grab some friends this weekend and make some signs to cheer our soldiers home as the buses arrive! I am listing the times and locations where the buses are expected to be on Monday May 20, 2013. Thanks for supporting our Troops!

HHC, Echo Company & Foxtrot Company
Talladega Superspeedway
3366 Speedway Blvd. Lincoln, AL
May 20th at 2:00

Alpha Company
National Guard Armory
6448 Fairfax Bypass, Valley, AL
May 20th at 2:00 EASTERN

Alpha Company Detachment
Fort McClellan Parade Field
Anniston, AL
May 20th at 2:00

Bravo Company
National Guard Armory
1000 Yeager Parkway
Pelham, AL
May 20, 2013 at 1:00

Charlie Company
National Guard Armory
1000 23rd Street SW, Cullman, AL
May 20th at 1:00

Delta Company
Legion Stadium (across from High school)
701 North Broadway
Sylacauga
May 20th 1:00

Shell Shock

By Valerie Moore (March 21, 2013)

We promised

’til death do us part

and hearing with our hearts,

we were united.

And, as men and women do,

we kept that promise.

That ever encroaching

shock of artillery filled

the nooks and crannies

of our hearts, where tendrils

of tender memories once lived

and now are left barren and stark

against the landscape of lost love.

 

Now the shattered remnant

of a life become nightmare

is returning to you.

“I’m coming home.

Please don’t be afraid of me

because of the strang guest

standing by my side, the one

who will share our pillow.

 

I promised someday the heart

will hear songs of our union again

and the songs of battle

will sound retreat once more.”

VA Launches Hotline to Answer Questions on VA Health Care and Benefits for Women Veterans

The Department of Veterans Affairs has launched a new hotline — 1-855-VA-WOMEN — to receive and respond to questions from Veterans, their families and caregivers about the many VA services and resources available to women Veterans. The service began accepting calls on April 23, 2013.

“Some women Veterans may not know about high-quality VA care and services available to them,” said Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki. “The hotline will allow us to field their questions and provide critical information about the latest enhancements in VA services.”

The hotline is staffed by knowledgeable VA employees who can provide information about benefits including health care services for women.  Callers can be linked to information on claims, education or health care appointments as well as information about VA cemeteries and memorial benefits.  Staff can answer urgent questions and provide referrals to homeless and mental health services as well as provide Vet Center information.

Women make up nearly 15 percent of today’s active duty military and 18 percent of National Guard and Reserve forces.  The population of women Veterans using VA benefits including health care is growing rapidly.  Since 2000, the number of women using VA health care more than doubled, from nearly 160,000 in 2000 to more than 354,000 in 2012.  Based on the upward trend of women in all branches of service, the number of women Veterans—and female VA users—will keep climbing.

VA is committed to making improvements for the growing population of women Veterans, including the way it communicates with them.  In 2010, VA established an outbound call center to contact women Veterans and encourage them to enroll in VA health care.

“In VA health care alone, women constitute only 6 percent of VA patients, but those Veterans have a high perception of the quality care they are receiving,” said Irene Trowell-Harris, director of VA’s Center for Women Veterans.

“Many women who served don’t self-identify as Veterans and therefore don’t think they qualify for VA benefits. We need to correct existing misinformation and misperceptions so we can serve more women Veterans with the benefits they’ve earned.”

Women Veterans are entitled to apply for the same benefits as their male counterparts, which include health care and pharmacy benefits as well as education benefits, disability compensation, home loans, employment assistance and more.

The hotline (1-855-VA-WOMEN) joins numerous other VA hotlines that provide critical information and assistance to Veterans, such as those for Veterans in crisis and in danger of becoming homeless. Veterans can also receive information and apply for benefits online at VA’s www.eBenefits.va.gov and manage their health care at MyHealtheVet.va.gov.